I recently heard on a life coaching podcast, that life is about 50% happy and the other 50% is well… not so great.... in fact, sometimes it can outright suck! While those stats are just a guesstimate, it's a certainty that life is full of bumps in the road and even mountains to climb at times.
So how can we better navigate life's up and downs so that even in tough times, we can manage our emotions and be OK despite the challenges?
According to the late Dr. Stephan Williams, an Organizational Psychologist from the UK, the first step in dealing with a personal or professional challenge is to put on your “reality glasses” to look directly at what is really going on.
He suggests taking a step back and asking yourself these 3 questions.
So this leads to a question … how clear are your “reality glasses”? Through what lens are you viewing the world and what happens around you? Do you tend to expect the best or the worst in situations? Do you easily see the good qualities in someone, or tend to inadvertently focus on their annoying traits and habits? Do you feel that life brings you good things, or do you believe that things don’t usually work out in your favour?
A few years ago, I attended Landmark Forum. It is an intense personal development weekend seminar and at the beginning they made this emphatic statement that “life is meaningless”. I thought .... “That’s ridiculous… Maybe your life is meaningless, but my life has meaning!” By the end of the seminar, what I came to realize is that what they really meant is that our experiences and the events in our life are in fact, inherently meaningless until we give those events and experiences our own meaning. We all make up stories about what happens to us, that feel true to us, then all of a sudden, those experiences having meaning… OUR MEANING… OUR STORY!
A couple of months ago, a friend posted photos and videos on Instagram of her recent skydiving experience. She had a massive smile and a look of excitement on her face before, during and after the jump. What was clearly an exciting and exhilarating experience for her, would be an absolute nightmare for someone else. LIFE IS ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE, how you look at people, events and experiences and the feelings and emotions you associate with them.
Learning to navigate the ups and downs of life is really about managing our perspective, seeing things within the bigger picture and shifting our perspective when needed. The great thing is that we get to choose our perspective. We may have a bit of a natural default to a certain outlook, but it is not set in stone. When life is going in a direction we don't like, we have the ability to shift our perspective, change the meaning of the events and experiences and ultimately change the course of our lives.